Friday, December 2, 2022

Q&A with Michelle I. Mason


Photo by Greg Mason



Michelle I. Mason is the author of the new young adult novel My Second Impression of You. She also has written the YA novel Your Life Has Been Delayed. She lives in St. Louis.


Q: What inspired you to write My Second Impression of You, and how did you create your character Maggie?


A: There are three distinct things that inspired My Second Impression of You. The first was a dinner table conversation in which someone—I don’t remember for sure who—asked, “What if you could relive the best day of your life?” And of course, being a writer, I added the twist, “But when you did, it wasn’t the way you remembered it?” I jotted down the idea to come back to later.


Second, in July 2019, I broke my foot walking down some steps. I wasn’t on my phone like Maggie; I just didn’t see the steps and ended up breaking my foot in such a way that I required surgery. I figured if I had to go through it, a character should at some point too.


I took detailed notes about the experience, from what my foot looked like every day to descriptions of my pain level, to asking my surgeon how my injury might affect a teenager differently. I had way more information than I included in the book, but I had the primary research covered!


Once I had the broken foot and the story premise, I started brainstorming the character. What sorts of activities would a broken foot derail? Obviously any number of sports would have worked.


But also in late 2019, my daughter was cast in her first community theater production—the children’s ensemble for Frozen Jr. As I sat outside rehearsals listening to the teens in the show talking about other auditions, I realized that would be a perfect fit. Maggie became a Broadway hopeful, and I thoroughly enjoyed writing her, since I’m a musical theater fan myself.


Q: How would you compare Maggie and her experiences with time travel with those of your character Jenny, in your novel Your Life Has Been Delayed?


A: It’s so funny you ask that, because the first time someone said to me that this book is sort of another time travel, it surprised me.


So, to answer your question about how the two characters’ experiences with time are different, Maggie has the opportunity to relive a single day and experience it from the perspectives of the other people in her life. For Maggie, the time warp, so to speak, allows her to take another look at her own life and decide what changes, if any, she wants to make going forward.

On the other hand, Jenny is thrust out of her own time (1995) into a completely new century. She has to learn how to adjust to new technology, accept a number of personal and family losses, and make new friendships as her existing friends are all 25 years older. Ultimately, her decision is whether she will stay rooted in the past she understands or adapt and make a new life in the present in which she finds herself.


Q: The Kirkus review of My Second Impression of You called it “Equal parts sweet romance and thought-provoking story of self-discovery.” What do you think of that description?


A: I love that description, as I think it truly encapsulates the story. Maggie thinks the purpose of reliving her best day is to get her boyfriend back, but it’s really about discovering truths about herself and her relationships. It comes along with a surprising (for her) romance, but the romance is never meant to overshadow Maggie’s growth.


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?


A: Most of all, I always hope readers get caught up in the story and enjoy the experience. But if they do take a message, then I hope it’s to consider other perspectives in addition to your own, because first impressions can be faulty.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I just turned in another manuscript to my agent. It’s a book I first wrote 10 years ago and keep returning to. I hope I’m finally at the point in my career where I’m ready to get it right! Like my two published books, it’s a young adult novel with a speculative twist. I’m also working on another young adult novel that’s straight contemporary.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: My Second Impression of You is available in hardback, ebook and audiobook—and I have to say the audiobook narrator, Kimberly M. Wetherell, captures Maggie perfectly. I highly recommend it for anyone who’s an audiobook listener.


You can find all the links to purchase the book on my website at, and I’d also love for readers to request it at their local library!


I’m active on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. I’m @michelleimason on all three platforms. I also have a monthly newsletter, where I share backstage info on my books, writing tips, character corners, recipes, news and more. You can subscribe at!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Michelle I. Mason.

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